EXCLUSIVE: A low-level record producer with houses in Englewood and California was sentenced to a plea-bargained three years in state prison yesterday for trying to import West Coast weed to Bergen County — through the mail.
The man known professionally as “Piper” — who recently boasted of working with rapper 50 Cent — pleaded guilty to drug and weapons charges after he, his mother and his girlfriend were arrested for receiving nearly 30 pounds of pot in separate shipments.
U.S. Postal inspectors tipped off investigators to the far-ranging scheme, which authorities said involved 10 pounds delivered to the Belmont Street home that Craig Sydette Piper II shared with Jazzelyn Sosa, his girlfriend and the mother of his child, and another 18 pounds shipped in two packages to co-defendant Andrew Reid in Ridgefield Park.
Defense attorney S. Emile Lisboa told Presiding Superior Court Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi that liberal drug laws in other states, combined with mixed messages from the media, sometimes lead people to think that selling pot isn’t a serious crime.
He called Piper a college-educated, aspiring musician who “unfortunately is going to pay a price for this.”
But the judge wasn’t buying.
“You have potential,” DeAvila-Silebi told his client, “but you’re using it for the wrong thing.”
“Everything he did in this case shows he knew full well the trouble he could get into,” Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Pia Shepard added.
The amount of drugs shipped “was just under the legal limit for a higher trafficking offense,” she explained.
After convincing his four co-defendants to accept drug shipments from California, she said, “he was nowhere to be found…. when everyone else got in trouble.”
At the same time, Shepard ( below, left ) said she supported the plea agreement of three years because Piper “took responsibility” for his actions.
Under state law, he would have faced a mandatory five years behind bars without parole eligibility for three years if he’d been convicted at a trial.
Instead, Piper pleaded guilty to one count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute the drug and one count of possession of a weapon while attempting to commit a crime.
Authorities said they found four firearms in the pot houses: a Jennings 9mm handgun, a Hi Point Smith & Wesson .40-caliber rifle, a single-barrel shotgun and an Olympic Arms .223-caliber rifle that they said was seized when investigators intercepted a shipment and found more pot inside mother Angeline Piper’s Teaneck home.
According to Piper’s MySpace page, he is “a multifaceted artist who has managed to create his own lane and genre. It’s a unique blend that incorporates R&B, hip-hop, pop, rock-n-roll, house, and drum and bass.
“As a freshman, Piper met P Sharp at Victor’s House of Music and the two began producing and recording,” it adds. “So as Piper worked on his degree, he also worked on his music. By his second year in school, Piper founded PIPER Records and used his company to learn the business even as he continued recording.”
Piper is also listed as having a small role in the credits of “Before I Self Destruct,” a 2009 direct-to-video film by rapper 50 Cent.
His publicity team also says he’s also the lead singer of a band called (1984), a project that’s “still in motion.”
Piper’s mother, girlfriend and two other co-defendants have reached separate plea agreements and are all scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 1.
STORY / PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
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